In recent weeks, South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have announced that they will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court, and has 124 states parties, including 34 African states.
‘Norway is concerned about the formal steps taken by South Africa and Burundi to withdraw from the ICC, and about Gambia’s announcement that they too will withdraw from the Court. We urge these countries to reconsider this decision and to remain active states parties to the ICC. Norway would like to continue its dialogue with these states at the Assembly of the States Parties in November,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The International Criminal Court is a key actor in the international fight against impunity for the most worst categories of crimes. African states played a vital part in the negotiations leading up to the Rome Statute, which was adopted at the end of the 1990s, and they continue to play a crucial role today.
‘Norway seeks to promote a good dialogue between the states parties, and the African countries are key partners for us in these efforts. It is important to uphold the fundamental principles on which the ICC is based, such as the independence of the Court and the Prosecutor. We urge South Africa, Burundi and Gambia to engage in a dialogue on the ICC with Norway and the other states parties,’ said Mr Brende.
Among the objections the three countries have raised is that prosecution under the Statute of Rome may make it more difficult to reach peaceful solutions to conflicts.
‘In Norway’s view, the ICC plays an important and constructive role in peace negotiations, and we believe that mechanisms for the prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are important for achieving peaceful solutions,’ said Mr Brende.